Utica, NY (WIBX) - The Oneida County Health Department is launching a pilot program in its continuing effort to reduce the incidence of childhood lead poisioning.

The one year study will focus on 168 rental housing units in West Utica and Cornhill. It will utilize new paints containing primer as a way to possibly seal the old lead based paint and reduce lead dust in wear-and-tear areas like windows, doors and porches.

Quality Improvement Coordinator Cathe Bullwinkle says if it works "we would be painting less frequently, the paint would be stabilized, therefore, the health department, the codes department would be making less visits to the home and children would be poisioned by re-exposure to the paint."

Participating landlords will be given vouchers to cover the cost of the primer, brushes and rollers upto $140. They'll also be allowed to take the EPA's Renovator Training class for free valued at $195.

The pilot project is being paid for with a grant from the New York State Department of Health.

Bullwinkle said Oneida County ranks #2 in the state in prevelence of lead poisoning in children, outside of New York City. The county ranked #7 in incidence of lead poisoning, incluidng New York City.

The results of the study will be forwarded to the New York State Department of Health. Bullwinkle said the report would examine the effectiveness of this interim technique versus full lead abatement which is much more expensive.

More information can be found at www.ocgov.net